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Introducing Hieke & Maaike, Study Advisors @ Campus Fryslân

Date:22 February 2024
Author:Erika Compatangelo
Study advisors Hieke Hoekstra (l) and Maaike Moltzer (r) at Campus Fryslân
Study advisors Hieke Hoekstra (l) and Maaike Moltzer (r) at Campus Fryslân

Do you know what study advisors do and how they can support you? If your answer is a shaky "no" or a hesitant "kind of," then you're in for a treat! In this blog post, we're introducing Hieke, Study Advisor for all master’s programmes and the bachelor’s Data Science & Society (DSS), and Maaike, Study Advisor of Global Responsibility & Leadership (GRL) at Campus Fryslân. They'll walk us through the ins and outs of their role, their importance within the faculty, the assistance they provide, and why it's crucial for students to reach out to them at certain times.

Hieke, Maaike, thanks for this chat. Let’s dive right into the topic of this post. What is a study advisor?

Both: A study advisor (SA) is a staff member whose primary role is to support students in various aspects of their studies. We serve as the initial point of contact for a wide range of inquiries, both academic and personal in nature.Our scope of support extends to anything that may impact a student's academic journey, such as learning difficulties, disabilities, or personal challenges like illness or family emergencies. SAs can offer accommodations to help students navigate these situations and manage their studies effectively. We also provide information on the rules and regulations governing academic matters, helping students understand their options within the framework of their programme. We believe we can serve as a valuable resource for both prospective and current students, offering confidential support and referrals to other services in various aspects of student life.

How does the role of study advisor align with the structure of our faculty?

Hieke: As a study advisor, I see myself as a neutral intermediary, facilitating a bridge between students' interests and the complex framework of university regulations and structures. My role is to ensure that students' needs are effectively communicated and addressed within the institutional framework. It's never a university versus student scenario. The university is invested in your success, and the study advisor is here to support you in achieving that success.

Maaike: As I offer support to students of the Global Responsibility & Leadership (GRL) programme, I collaborate extensively with Ineke, Elise, and Indira to strategize on how to incorporate feedback gathered from students. My responsibilities include providing guidance to students and offering insights on how proposed programme changes may impact them. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been significant interaction with the Student Center in Groningen. I frequently liaise with the Student Service Desk, primarily regarding graduation, technical inquiries, and matters concerning the Board of Examiners, such as study delays. Additionally, I collaborate closely with Hieke to coordinate our approaches.

What do you believe stops students from seeking your help?

Hieke: Some students may hesitate to reach out for help because they may not realize they need it or feel embarrassed about seeking assistance. Another worry students might have is that asking for help could make them look bad or affect their grades. But as study advisors, we're here to help without judging. We keep things private and just aim to guide students in the right direction. We listen to what students need and help them understand the rules we have to follow, like the Teaching and Examination Regulations (TER). Our goal is to make sure students feel supported and understand how things work.

Maaike: On average, guys find it more difficult than girls to talk about what's bothering them. They tend to rely on their friends for support, or think they should work things out by themselves. An important thing to remember, anything you tell me is strictly confidential and therefore kept private, unless the student says otherwise.

When is it crucial for students to reach out to you?

Hieke: It's crucial for students to reach out to their SA proactively if they anticipate a study delay or encounter any obstacles along the way. By being proactive, students can mitigate potential issues and take steps to prevent or minimize any disruptions to their academic progress. Seeking guidance early on also puts students in a better position when it comes to requesting exemptions or accommodations from the Board of Examiners (BoE).

Maaike: It's best to deal with problems before they get worse, but it's not always easy. That's why I reach out to first-year students early on. I chat with them, not just about issues, but also to make them feel comfortable sharing any worries they have.

Do you have any final advice for students who are thinking about reaching out but have not yet done so?

Hieke: Don't be afraid to ask for help, no matter how small your concern may seem. We're here for anything you need help with, whether it's about your studies or something else.

Maaike: I've heard all sorts of problems, so don't worry if yours seems unusual. Study advisors won't judge you and try to stay neutral.

Would you like to reach out to your study advisor?

Study advisor
Global Responsibility & Leadership
Data Science & Society
Climate Adaptation Governance
Sustainable Entrepreneurship
Sustainable Tourism & Society
Voice Technology

About the author

Erika Compatangelo
Erika Compatangelo

Ciao! My name is Erika and I am the Content & Data Management Specialist of Campus Fryslân. I was born and raised in Italy and have recently graduated from the MSc in Climate Adaptation Governance. I have been in charge of the blog and all its content since October 2023. My aim is to make this virtual space serve as a logbook for the Campus Fryslân community and as a welcoming introduction for all newcomers. Here, you will find stories from the people of Campus Fryslân to get a taste of what studying here is like and the exciting opportunities it comes with!